EcoVillage Ithaca

Ithaca, New York, United States

  • Last updated: January 17, 2019 (1 second ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote experiential learning about ways of meeting human needs for shelter, food, energy, livelihood and social connectedness that are aligned with the long-term health and viability of Earth and all its inhabitants.

Community Description

Located in the beautiful region of New York’s Finger Lakes, EcoVillage at Ithaca has three thriving cohousing neighborhoods. The village features cooperative dining in the common houses, a swimming pond, neighborhood community gardens, hiking trails, play spaces, eighty-five energy efficient homes, a common house with 15 apartments, all in a multigenerational village-scale community.

The pedestrian village is surrounded by woods and open meadows. We have a 10-acre organic fruit and vegetable farm on site that provides produce for residents as well as the wider Ithaca area, and a 5-acre CSA berry farm that has delicious organic u-pick berries. We also host a 10 acre teaching farm, the Groundswell Incubator Farm, which offers support for beginning, low-income farmers.

Our goal is to build a replicable model of a cooperative, environmentally sensitive village that can also serve as a demonstration site for teaching principles of sustainability and permaculture.

Our nonprofit educational organization, [email protected], is affiliated with the Center for Transformative Action at Cornell University. In addition to giving tours to over 500 visitors a year, our developing educational program provides hands-on training in community life, building sustainable communities, and green building techniques for building and planning professionals. We have helped to initiate and contribute to a sustainability movement in our locality that is bringing about profound changes in the region.

EcoVillage is located on 175 acres, two miles from downtown Ithaca, and three miles from Cornell University and Ithaca College. Ninety percent of the land is preserved as green space for organic agriculture and wildlife habitat. For more information about EVI, read Liz Walker’s book, “EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture,” New Society Publishers, 2005. It is available from our website.


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience, Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association, Organization, Resource, or Network, Festivals, Conferences, Events
  • Location: Suburban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 175 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Apartments
  • Current Number of Residences: 100
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: Another form of Non-profit
  • Additional Comments:

    EVI, Inc., the educational non-profit which started the project, owns most of the land. The Village Association, made up of residents owns the land surrounding the village.

    In the first two neighborhoods there are a total of 30 duplexes. All homes are attached.

    Second Neighborhood homes were completed in 2004. First Neighborhood in 1996. Third neighborhood was completed in November 2015. All homes in the third neighborhood (TREE) qualify for LEED Platinum, some are net zero energy, and some have qualified as Passivhaus.There are 4 duplexes, 15 apartments and 17 single family homes.

    Each neighborhood takes up 5-to-6 acres of land.


  • Adult Members: 240
  • Child Members: 67
  • Non-member Residents: 10
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    People are welcome to come to our free public tour at 3 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month. If that doesn’t work for your schedule, you can arrange a private tour by contacting our visit coordinator at least one week in advance ([email protected]). We ask that people who take a private tour join our nonprofit educational organization as members ($35/single, $50/household) in exchange for our time. We have some overnight accommodations available; check with the visit coordinator regarding availability.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Those seriously interested in living at EVI should complete our educational process, which involves visiting us, participating in work and social events, reading Liz Walker’s first book, studying our web site, and meeting with the Village Membership Committee. In this way, we assist people to self-select whether living at EVI will be a good fit for them.

  • Additional Comments:

    We have a wide variety of spiritual traditions practiced.


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments:

    The third neighborhood is in the process of examining Sociocracy as a means of governance.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $650
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 4
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Monthly costs include maintenance and upkeep of the property, exterior of all dwellings, and the three neighborhood common houses, plus real estate and school taxes, water, and capital reserve funds. Electricity is metered and billed accordingly. Other additional costs may include Internet access, land line phone service, the Social Justice Fund, and membership in the two non-profit organizations. There may, from time to time, be additional assessments, but these must be approved by the community.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 50-75%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Clean Energy from the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: Almost All, around 90%
  • Current food produced: Between 26-49%
  • Planned food produced: Between 26-49%
  • Food produced locally: Almost All, around 90%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Library, Workshop, Swimming pond or pool, Large Scale Kitchen, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Swingsets & play areas, Waterfront access, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    There are two Village-wide meals a week, plus one limited to each neighborhood, and at least two potluck meals. All are optional.

    lots of veggies, some fruits

    There are a wide range of individual dietary choices from omnivorous to vegan.

    Never in Common Houses but there is no policy against general use. However no members are tobacco users.

  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private Schooling at the Community, Private School off the property, Public Schooling
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

We’re on the edge of a small town. Our land includes farmland.

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Coho/US, Ecovillage Network of the Americas


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